Me and my sister - 2

20 July 2016
My sister Tricia is travelling up from the Blue Mountains to visit us. She arrives tomorrow. She is the one person I've known all my life, the personification of my past, the one who lived the same experiences I did, came from the same parents, were taught by the same nuns, ate the same foods, learned the same lessons, lived the same values and became a totally different woman, despite all that sharing.

We still share the excitement of every new day and look forward to whatever is coming up but our relationship is sustained by the shared experience of our past, the comforting memories of our childhood and parents and being a part of what made us. We are each other in a different form.

Tricia is visiting with her son Daniel and grand children Johnathan and Alana and during her visit we'll see my children and grandchildren. This, no doubt, will trigger conversations about our past as we continue to piece together what that is and make sense of what helped make us what we became. We both remember different parts of our childhood so when our recollections come up it helps us both because we have a different view of the same events. Just yesterday we were talking about the doctors our mother took us to when we very young children. We attended a family practice of two GPs and I don't recall us ever talking about these doctors before. Tricia had strong memories of one doctor, I had strong memories of the other. With both our memories, we have a better understanding of that part of our past.

I don't know why we remember what we remember. I only know it is important to do it and to think about it.  I guess it helps us understand ourselves as we prepare for a future that includes death. I don't shy away from that, I'm not scared of it and I know that with each passing day that future becomes more of a reality. It does for all of us but when you're old, you accept it and don't hide from it by believing it's far off in the future.

So while Tricia, Danny and the children are here, we'll sit around the table and enjoy being together. Our grandkids can spend time with their cousins, parents and grandparents and start to work out who we are and where they fit in to this family. We'll have lunch down at the coast where my son is working as head chef, we'll visit plant nurseries and talk about plants, we'll garden, knit, cook and talk and all that time will become become new memories.

Families are important and I think we need to spend time with them. You have to take time out to do it but it's a good investment in your wellbeing and mental health to be on good terms with your family. BTW, family can be your traditional family or the people you choose to love and associate with. Tricia is the only person I have left from the family I was born into so she's not only my sister, she's part of my identity. I'm looking forward to the visit.  :- )

Me and my sister - 1.